Tag Archives: WCB

Just the Facts: Safety Management Systems

 

The   Ministry of Health has directed all Health Regions to
implement a Safety Management System (SMS) in health care facilities where   they have the greatest amount of injuries. This system is intended to reduce   workplace injuries in the Health Care sector.

Health care worker injuries are the highest number of Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claims; therefore, the Government is now requiring that health care facilities/services with the highest time loss claims, implement this system. The Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces in Health (SASWH) is the safety association with equal union/employer representatives for the health sector.

SASWH has developed a tool to assist health care Employers in this regard. However, it is not mandatory that Employers use their system; yet the Health Care Unions (SEIU-West, SUN, CUPE, HSAS, and SGEU) are urging them to do so. Either way, for the targeted facilities a program must be implemented within a defined timeline.

The SASWH has recommended that 20% of health care facilities with the highest level of injury claims do self-assessments.

What is a Safety Management System (SMS)?

  • It is a process to reduce the risk of injury in the Heath Care sector. It is a collection of documents, forms, procedures, policies, practices, training and communication required to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace. In short, it is a safety program.
  • Part of the system requires an assessment to occur in the health care facilities were there are the highest level of workplace injuries within each Health Region. The Ministry has determined that each of the Health Regions must have a plan in place by March 31, 2013 towards the implementation of an SMS.

Who should be involved in the SMS?

  • Workers need to be involved directly in program development. Workers are exposed to hazards and have a good idea of the current realities they face each day in the workplace.
  • Specifically, we believe that Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Committee members should be included as part of the Assessment Team.

What will be happening in my workplace?

  • Each Health Region must determine by December 31, 2012 how they will begin their self-assessment process and which tool they will utilize.
  • In targeted facilities within your Health Region, assessors may be using a variety of methods to gather information from those worksites where the highest injury rates exist. They will be observing the workplace, interviewing workers to see if they have been properly trained in Occupational Health and Safety procedures and protocols and they will be requiring documented proof from the Employer that proper policies are in place.
  • Based on the result of the assessments, we expect the Employer will have to make changes to ensure that they are doing everything possible to make the workplace safer.

 

WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT?

SEIU-West wants to be very clear. It is our expectation that OH&S Committee members are provided the opportunity to participate in the SMS. We have notified all Health Care Employers of this request and await confirmation from them as to the structure/composition of their Assessment Teams. We have asked the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety to direct this as well. It is time for true prevention of injuries in Health Care and it is vital that workers have a say in this.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Please encourage your employer to utilize the Health and Safety Committee members in the development and implementation of an SMS in your workplace.

If you are chosen for an interview with the Assessment Team:

  • Please make sure that you identify all hazards in the workplace.
  • Please indicate if and where training or resources (such as safe staffing levels) are lacking.

For a printable PDF version of this information, click here.

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Just the Facts: Summary Offence Ticketing (SOTs)

Are you aware that the Provincial Government is planning some major changes to the way that safety legislation is enforced in Saskatchewan?

With these changes, there is a very real chance that you could be subject to a large fine if proper safety protocols or procedures are not followed in your workplace.

Effective immediately, the Union is advising all members to carefully observe and follow all safety requirements.

These include:

  • wearing personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves, masks, proper footwear);
  • using patient lifts and following TLR; and
  • following all safety rules, even if they have not been enforced in the past.

In other Provinces where they have issued these tickets, the fines to workers are as high as $295.00. Worse yet, if you are named a “repeat offender” the fines can be even higher. The only way to fight a ticket is through the costly court system…at your own expense!

A Special Message to all IN-SCOPE SUPERVISORS:

If you are responsible to supervise others, you may be issued a ticket in addition to them. In Ontario, almost every time a worker is fined, the supervisor gets a ticket as well and 73% of all tickets issued have gone to workers or supervisors.

WHAT IS SEIU-West DOING?

SEIU-West has sent our submission to the Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety asking him to reconsider this punitive measure. A copy of this is posted on our website: visit www.seiuwest.ca and review the Worker Safety Committee page. We have also asked your employer to partner with us so as to ensure that all workers receive clear communication. We have asked for the appropriate contact info for all SEIU-West representatives on Occupational Health and Safety Committees to facilitate our greater communication with the membership.

We will be updating our website as we obtain more details.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

  • Write, call or email the Minister and tell him this is unfair. Tell him that workers should not be bear the personal blame and cost of unsafe staffing levels and a lack of resources in the form of equipment and training.  Contact your MLA as well.
Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety
Mr. Don Morgan (MLA, Saskatoon Southeast)
Phone: 955-4755 (Constituency Office) or
call collect @ 787-5353 (Legislative Assembly)
Email: dmorgan@mla.legassembly.sk.ca and cc your union

Follow all safety rules!

  • Never lift a patient alone or violate TLR. If there are unsafe staffing levels, advise your Manager that you require assistance as soon as possible.  Please complete a Workload Tracking Form and return it to your local union office.  Most importantly, continue to report all injuries and incidents as usual.

Tell your co-workers about this notice.

  • Support each other when taking the time to do your job safely.  Call your Union immediately if you receive any negative feedback from management or co-workers for taking the time to do your job according to safety procedures.

PLEASE remember:

All workers have:

  • The right to know the safety hazards at work – the precautions needed to reduce or eliminate the hazards – all safety training; and
  • The right to participate in the day to day detection, evaluation and reduction of workplace hazards – on your committee, as elected by your peers or appointed by your trade union; and
  • The right to refuse unsafe or unusually dangerous work without fear of repercussions.

For a printable PDF version of this post, click on the link below:

Just the Facts: Summary Offence Ticketing (SOT’s)

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Submission to Government: Worker Safety – Summary Offence Ticketing

“…It is our understanding that the Saskatchewan government is contemplating the introduction of Summary Offence Ticketing (SOT) as a measure to enforce The Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations in all workplaces, While we do promote and support safe and healthy workplaces, it is our position that there are many causal factors related to unsafe work environments, A proactive approach should include enforcement measures involving the proper investigation of such factors with all parties working towards a heightened level of awareness and a resolve…”

To read the full letter and submission, click on the links below:

Letter to Don Morgan re: Summary Offence Ticketing May 1, 2012

Summary Offence Ticketing Submission May 1, 2012

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National Day of Mourning – Regina

For workers killed or injured on the job…

Please join the Regina & District Labour Council (HDLC) in a ceremony of remembrance.

Click on the link below for the poster:

National Day of Mourning Poster Regina 2012

Contact:
Susan Butson

Want to post this on your Union board? Click on the link below for a printable colour version of the poster:

Day of Mourning Events Saskatchewan

Regina
Saturday, April 28 at 1:30 p.m.

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National Day of Mourning – Weyburn

For workers killed or injured on the job…

Please join the Weyburn & District Labour Council (HDLC) in a ceremony of remembrance.

Contact: Wanda Bartlett

Want to post this on your Union board? Click on the link below for a printable colour version of the poster:

Day of Mourning Events Saskatchewan

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National Day of Mourning – Yorkton

For workers killed or injured on the job…

Please join the Yorkton & District Labour Council (HDLC) in a ceremony of remembrance.

Contact: Maryann Federko

Want to post this on your Union board? Click on the link below for a printable colour version of the poster:

Day of Mourning Events Saskatchewan

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President’s Message: Day of Mourning

Day of Mourning

Click here to download the poster

When we look around our workplaces and think about those who have suffered a workplace injury, illness or death, it’s important for us to reflect on the impact to that person, but also to their family, our workplaces and communities.  

 

‘An injury to one is an injury to all’ is not just a slogan, nor is it only about ‘injuries’ – but it means that we must work together to improve the quality and safety of our work and workplaces so that we come home to our families safe, and alive.

Take time on April 28 to think about workplace safety and our co-workers; think about the supports in place to help people transition from an injury; and think about joining your Occupational Health and Safety Committee.

If you want more information about the Day of Mourning, the Worker Safety Committee have come up with the following items for you to use in your workplace (the items will be linked):

–          Day of Mourning Poster 2012

–          Why a Canary

–          Safety Hot Topic: Day of Mourning

If you want to head out to a ceremony, there are many events across the province.

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has also issued a statement and poster to mark the day.

Remember, our work is not done, we need to continually improve our workplaces and not rest on the achievements from the past.

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Canadian Labour Congress: Day of Mourning Statement 2012

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Nova Scotia Westray mine disaster, where an underground methane explosion took the lives of 26 workers. Since then, the labour movement worked for parliament to pass legislation, the so-called Westray bill, which amended the Criminal Code of Canada in order to hold employers, who failed to take steps to protect the lives of their employees, criminally liable. The Westray bill provided a new regime outlining the framework of corporate liability in Canada.

In the nine years since the Westray bill amendments and corporate manslaughter law came into effect, only two provinces have laid charges under the criminal code. If the provinces and territories were using the Westray legislation as intended, we could make significant inroads at protecting workers health and safety and we could save lives.

Tragically, thousands of workers, every year, have their life changed because of a major injury while hundreds more lose their life because of their work. No job is worth dying for, yet 1,014 people lost their lives in 2010, the most recent year for which we have statistics. These are not accidents, they can be prevented. It’s important to remember that Canada still has one of the highest rates of workplace deaths in the industrialized world, and even one death is still one too many.

Nothing can bring back those who have died, but a message has to be sent that cutting corners on health and safety and employees being killed is not acceptable. If and when an employer willfully neglects health and safety, knowing that someone can be injured or killed – they should be held criminally responsible. Corporations and their representatives need to be held accountable. As workers, we need to pressure our governments to use the Westray legislation as intended.

Today should not be the day another worker dies at work.

For a printable version of this statement, click on the link below:

Canadian Labour Congress Day of Mourning Statement 2012

For the companion poster, click on the link below – there is an English and a French version of the poster:

Canadian Labour Congress Day of Mourning Poster

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National Day of Mourning – Humboldt

For workers killed or injured on the job…

Please join the Humboldt & District Labour Council (HDLC) in a ceremony of remembrance.

Contact: Sandy Weyland

Want to post this on your Union board? Click on the link below for a printable colour version of the poster:

Day of Mourning Events Saskatchewan

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Safety Record in Health-Care—Dismal!

George Marshall, CEO of Safe Workplaces in Health, met with SEIU-West Worker Safety committee members, staff, and President Barbara Cape, to discuss the recently created safety association dedicated to creating safe workplaces in Health Care.  Lori Johb,  our SEIU-West worker representative on this association, stated that one of the things that is going to make this organization different, is that there is joint representation from all five Health Care Unions (SEIU-West, CUPE, SGEU, HSAS, and RWDSU) as well as Employer representatives from various Health Regions.  Ensuring equal representation was key to the formation of this group and its’ success.  We view it as a very positive step in the right direction.

Marshall reported that although WCB stats are not the only measure of workplace injuries, these stats continue to identify Health Care as the number one industry for injury claims within Saskatchewan.  In fact, Saskatchewan Health Care is usually in the top two industries across Canada!   Over the past 5 years, Health Care has lost ½ million working days which is equivalent to 2400 workers being off work for 1 year.

Although those attending this meeting were not terribly surprised at the statistics, it clearly identified that our Health Care members are being hit the hardest. This Association may prove to be a resource to us and we must utilize them to the best of our ability to make positive change in our workplaces.

The top priority for this Association is to change the culture of safety in Health Care to one that values safety foremost. To do this, they have identified three key factors that need to change.

1)    Leadership – Employers have to equate worker safety to resident/patient/client safety.  They have to view safety as an investment and they have to recognize that prevention strategies are necessary if we are to move forward.  Unions must also reinforce their commitment to safety and invest in training and encouraging union members to think of their safety first. Unions/stewards/workers need to support members when they come forward with safety issues and encourage them to report all injuries.

2)    Accountability – Employers are required by legislation to have OH&S committees. There needs to be support and training offered to ensure these committees are functioning properly. The root cause of incidents and accidents need to be determined for all workplace incidents and again, prevention rather than blame, needs to be a focus for committees in the resolve of the incident report.

3) Systems – need to be in place to ensure health and safety in the workplace; this includes proper training, orientation, safety procedures, prevention strategies, effective communications, accurate reporting, access to proper safety equipment, root cause incident analysis, well functioning OHS Committees among the many other components.

This association has lots of work to do; however, they have made positive first steps. They have completed the staff recruitment piece and are in the process of beginning their work with Employers and Unions. Soon they may be assisting OH&S committees to function in the way the law intended.  SEIU-West is proud of the work that Lori Johb has done, on your behalf, with this association.  We know that this is a huge issue for our members and that the crushing workload in Health Care need to be addressed. Lori carries this message forward at the safety association level and is a strong advocate for workers safety.  She shares the perspective of health care providers who bear the burden of unsafe staffing levels every day – she understands the challenges faced by all members in the sector.

SEIU-West continues to strive for achievements at the bargaining table as well as any other forum we participate in.  Please continue to fill in your Workload Tracking Form and send them in to your union office.  Your unit chairperson will be able to find more forms if you need them.  Together we can make a difference!

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